Pearson to transform ft.com into worldwide business site

By MARK TUNGATE, campaignlive.co.uk, Monday, 27 September 1999 12:00AM

Pearson is spending at least pounds 40 million revamping its ft.com internet service to pull in more ad revenue.

Pearson is spending at least pounds 40 million revamping its ft.com

internet service to pull in more ad revenue.



The company has hired US web design house Razorfish to overhaul the

site.



Pearson says it wants to transform ft.com from an online version of the

newspaper into ’a worldwide business portal’.



The sector is becoming increasingly competitive. Pearson is up against

services such as TheStreet.Com, which recently launched a UK spin-off

(Campaign Media Business, 20 September).



However, while TheStreet is aimed at investors and share traders, ft.com

is positioning itself as a broader business information service. It is

running a pounds 7 million ad campaign through Delaney Fletcher Bozell,

with BJK&E handling media.



Paul Waddington, ft.com’s marketing communications director, said: ’We

want the site to become a business portal, somewhere people go every day

to find essential information.’



Waddington said that while there were plenty of sites with a US or

European focus, ft.com would have a truly international appeal. ’As well

as taking a global perspective on industry news, we’ll be providing more

information on people in business. We will expand the editorial content

and are already recruiting more staff.’



The site will also offer expanded versions of existing services, such as

its archive, analysts’ reports and e-mail news bulletins. ’There are

tremendous opportunities for properties like the FT on the net,’

Waddington said.



He added that the company was spending pounds 40 million in 1999 alone.

He added: ’Our business is based on providing free content. We hope to

increase ad revenue we bring to the site.’


Meanwhile, there is speculation that CurrantBun, The Sun’s service

provider, may also be revamped. This could involve changing the name of

the site to The Bun. It is thought News International wants to identify

the site more closely with the paper.



The flurry of online activity coincides with the disappointing

performance of net stocks. Fears that web companies have been overvalued

appeared to have been confirmed this week when shares in Freeserve

plummeted to below their flotation price.



This article was first published on campaignlive.co.uk

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